The Concept of Vedic Education

The concept of Vedic education at a glance:

The Goal of Vedic Culture is to Bring the Individual to the Platform of Krsna Consciousness.

Vedic Education is an Integral Part of This Scheme. 

The goal of Vedic Culture is self realization.

  • A Culture is made up of individuals.
  • The ideals of the culture must be effectively transmitted to the individual by reshaping his values and activities.
  • These ideals give rise to Vedic Education as an integral part of Vedic culture.
  • Vedic culture would offer the best facility for the development of the individual.
  • Once trained, the individual has his place in the culture; but to be trained he must be removed from his conditional environment and be placed in a situation in which, under the guidance of the teacher, he can more objectively understand his position.
  • This situation is ideally away from material / urban surroundings.
  • It should be in the shelter of the teachers' €Asrama.
  • Education must aid developing Krsna Consciousness in the individual.
  • Education must aid developing individuals as highly learned.
  • Highly learned means: "when a person is highly educated and acts strictly on moral principles, he is called highly learned" (NOD Ch.21).
  • The thrust of education therefore must be to develop character and philosophical realization; external knowledge and expertise are in a supportive role.

The Need of Individualized and Personal Direction Under an Expert Teacher. 

  • Education must be individualized as each person has his own nature, abilities and problems of conditioning.
  • To effect change in the students’ outlook, habits and behavior.
  • The teacher must give them personal attention, guidance and shelter.
  • The relationship between student and teacher must be that of firm friendship based on natural, not artificial, respect.
  • The child must come under the shelter of the teacher at the earliest age possible, so the relationship between them has developed before the child attains puberty with all its subsequent difficulties.

Qualification and Testing of a Student. 

  • The student must have suitable behavior and intellect for training. 
  • There is a testing period in which the prospective student may be evaluated.

The Duties of the Brahmacari.

  • The importance of s€dhana, service attitude and menial service.
  • The usefulness of the upanayanam€ samskara as a limb of pañcara€tra and a preparation for spiritual initiation.
    • helps establish the student firmly in the mode of goodness.
    • gives adhik€ra to perform homas and home Deity worship, thus cultivating attitudes of cleanliness, responsibility and devotion.
  • Purasc€arya vidhi.
  • Preparation for spiritual initiation.
  • Chanting Hare Krsna and serving pras€ad to the devotees.
  • Worshipping the Deity, offering oblations and performing fire sacrifices.

The Concept of Vedic Academic Training and its Basis on the Fourteen Books of Vedic Knowledge. 

  • Knowledge must be realized and applied in one’s life.
  • Knowledge must be gained from Authority.
  • The concept of para €(superior) and apara €(inferior) knowledge.
    • Vedanta as para€ and other Vedic subjects as apara€. 
    • Srimad Bha€gavatam as the culmination of par€a vidya€.
  • Vedic education is based on the 14 branches of knowledge.
    • The 4 Vedas, the 6 Vedangas (Sanskrit; Astronomy and rules of worship), and the 4 Upangas (Vedanta, Dharma, Logic and Pur€ana).
    • Upa Pur€ana (the 4 Upavedas).
    • Ayurveda, fine arts, architecture, and economics.
    • The 64 arts and sciences as a supplement to the Pur€anas.
    • Miscellanious useful knowledge.
    • Various aspects of Vocational training.
  • For those whose main training is philosophy, all other subjects become supportive of that thrust.
    • The Gaudiya Tradition keeps Srimad Bh€gavatam as the central feature of education.
    • All knowledge both theoretical and practical must be brought into line with the goal of Bhakti.

The Gurukula Training of Krsna and Balar€ama under the Care of Sandipani Muni, Perfectly Exemplifies Vedic Education. 

  • Living in the €Asrama of Sandipani Muni.
  • Krsna and Balar€ama’s performance of s€adhana and menial service.
  • After being satisfied by Their attitude, Sandipani Muni then instructed them in:
    • The 14 branches of Vedic knowledge.
    • Vocational training.
    • The 64 arts and sciences.

Conclusion:

The Bhaktivedanta Academy is based on the persuance of the above principles of Ksna and Balar€ma’s training and Srila Prabhup€da’s instructions to train qualified students as potential preachers of Srimad Bh€gavatam.

 

Download the full essay below.